Our old friends Canela Fina! delivered yet another great event for Brompton library with their chocolate event for children. We had a full house with everyone champing at the bit to get to the eating part of the event. Of course, that came at the end, so before that we had a history of where chocolate came from and how it’s made, all with graphics on our screen, and then the chocolate song with hand actions that was so fast in the end no-one could keep up with it… but had great fun trying!
Then came the part that everyone had been waiting for – tasting the white, brown and black chocolate before drawing pictures of the Aztec god of chocolate (I hadn’t known there was one!) and then, even better, being given two little doughnuts to decorate with chocolate sauce (white and brown) and sprinkles.
On a drizzly, wet afternoon after school last week Brompton Library was pleased to welcome our friend Matthew from the Ecology Centre who brightened everyone’s day with the promise of growth and renewal by the planting of a pea!
Matthew was inundated with keen kids and their carers who were shown how to make an environmentally friendly plant pot with newspaper and a wooden press. They then added some compost and the seed and Hey Presto! – they had a seed to nurture at home.
In this part of the borough most of the housing is in flats, whether they’re in mansion blocks with their own garden squares or social housing with a local park, so many kids won’t be used to getting their hands stuck in to garden soil or watching their own plant grow from a seed to an edible vegetable.
Let’s hope that at least some survive (though I have my doubts!)
Many thanks to the Ecology Centre – the plant potters event is new to libraries this academic year and I hope it’s as well received at other libraries as it was here. See our latest events listing or ask in your nearest RBKC library for the next Plant Potters event.
On Saturday 16th January, we had inspirational storytellers in the library including Sarah Deco who sparked the interest and creativity in the children, firing their imaginations. This made it a great experience for all, including the parents. I have never seen the children more eager to listen to a story! Sarah’s storytelling reminds us that hearing stories told is so much more fun than watching them on the television. She made what we read on paper come to life.
With the help of Sandeep Ganatra who played the handpan drum, Sarah was telling her story through music which complimented the stories and gave them a perfect touch.
One particular story which the children loved was Linda Matthiesen’s story of the girl who lost her mittens. Guiding the children through the stories twists and turns, they were eager to know what was going to happen next. All children moved closer to hear Linda as they were eager to know what happened to the girl’s mittens and were relieved when she was reunited with them.
The thoughtfulness of volunteers such as Sarah Deco, Sandeep Ganatra, Linda Matthiesen has allowed us to provide one-off special events for children. We would like to thank them for their fantastic performances and wish them the best of luck in their future performances.
Don’t forget to come to our once a month story and craft session on Saturday 16th February, 2:30-3:45pm, and our special author reading from Marcel Feigel who will be reading his book Ollie’s Big Surprise on Saturday 27th February, 2:30-3:30pm. We look forward to seeing you there!
By Laila El-Boukilli,
SCSA at Notting Hill Gate Library
When I first started doing the under-5s at Chelsea I had no experience at all, in fact I had come from delivering the housebound service in Hammersmith, so I was used to dealing with the very elderly who were often slow on their feet and very polite. I was in no way prepared for the chaos of pre-schoolers: the tired and distracted mothers and the nannies on their mobiles.
My God they were a tough audience!
I soon realise why so many people were reluctant to take on the responsibility. Some fellow workers were not brave enough to put on the baritone voice of the ogre in The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
There was almost a sense that the children’s library should be free of noise and chaos.
Did we really need class visits when books were left strewn across the carpet? Well, yes we did! We needed to embrace the chaos.
I soon developed a taste for amateur theatrics and found myself thinking my way inside Mr Bear’s mind in the wonderful ‘Peace At Last’ where the adults are amused by Mr Bear’s wretched sleepless night, his snoring wife and the horrible brown letter from the Inland Revenue which appears at the end and is clearly responsible for the wiggly lines etched round his eyes.
Last month I was sent on a story-time training session in Barnet where I hoped to pick up some new tips.
Would there be some hints on puppetry?
How to throw your voice or even a magic spell to aid concentration?
The session in Barnet was led by three high octane women. They had a personal interest in all the stories and like fans of music they felt a special relationship with Lucy Cousins and Jez Alborough. They had taken ownership of the books. Their enthusiasm was a little daunting for the first timer. I both appreciated the course and squirmed with embarrassment at having to sit on a small inflatable ring in a mock-up of a farm yard. Story-time means you have to let go, become cartoonish, engage the children with eye contact and big swirling gestures.
What I learnt is that repetition in a story is great, less text too, stories that elicit a call and answer response and some of those almost silent books such as ‘Hug’ which repeat one word over and over are the best. Most important of all don’t be afraid of repeating the same story. They will soon know Jack and the Beanstalk by heart.
We had a busy Summer Reading Challenge party and began with some themed record breaker questions for the completers. No one was prepared for the weird questions quizmaster Vince Symmons prepared: the length of the longest nose hair or the greatest distance covered by a skate-boarding goat?
Answers on a postcard please.
The more absurd the question the better the children responded.
Story-craft this month was structured around monsters. Di devised some brilliantly huggable creatures with folding arms and big furry bodies – a bit like an angry sporran. Earlier we designed frogs with red woollen tongues and a squashed fly on the end.
We also had a visit from the Holland Park ecology centre. The staff brought cockroaches and millipedes to the library and they did very well with our very own two-legged mini beasts!
By DanielJeffreys Customer Service Assistant, Chelsea Library
Schools have well and truly broken up for the summer and several more weeks of long holiday lie ahead… what will your children be doing? Visit your local library this summer to see all theevents and activities for childrenwhich are on offer. There are events on throughout the holidays, so there is lots to choose from!
If your children like a Challenge, why not bring them to join this year’s Record Breakers? All they need to do is read 6 library books over the holidays, and they’ll receive stickers and rewards for telling us about them.
It’s free to join, just visit your nearest library to sign up – all that’s needed is a library card. There’s a medal for everyone who reads 6 books!
What weird, wonderful or wacky records will you and your kids discover?
This was a bumper week for Brompton’s toddlers! As Katie (our Rhyme Time queen) had been laid low with a chest infection, on Monday we drafted in a support act in the shape of Daniel from Chelsea who gave us an “unplugged” Electric Babyland session backed up by Ashraf on tambourine and David on tablas – a new experience for both of them – and the kids (and the adults) loved it.
On Wednesday Monkey Music, well known in the borough, were kind enough to give us a free session and they took the children on a musical journey ending up under the sea. With their vast array of props and instruments for shaking, rattling and rolling on their tummies, again the kids had a very different and hugely enjoyable time.
On Thursday we were back to our own in-house Baby Rhyme Time with Elisabeth leading the singing. After two sessions of songs and movements that had been different and new the children enjoyed the familiarity of their old favourites.
Adult library users sometimes ask why we do events for toddlers that are so noisy and disturb the peace, but we all know that this type of stimulation is enormously beneficial to their brain function at such a formative age. They may also associate libraries with places where nice things happen. Long may it last!